Tio Pepe En Rama 2017 marks the 8th release of our limited edition unclarified and unfiltered Fino. This year’s En Rama has been made from 60 specially selected botas (large oak barrels), housed in González Byass centuries-old cellars La Constancia and Rebollo, in the heart of Jerez, Spain. During the long summer the barrels were protected from the strong Levante winds in the cellars and combined with a cool winter, a thick and healthy layer of ‘flor’ was secured. Antonio Flores, Head Winemaker at González Byass, described the wine as “elegant and aromatic on the nose with the characteristic intense yeasty aroma of the ‘flor’, intermingled with the distinctive almond notes typical of Palomino Fino: fresh, complex and intense, salty and expressive, but most of all alive and wild.” L&S (May 2017)
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We tasted this with cellar-master, Antonio Flores, in the Bodega-like Bar Pepito near Kings Cross last week. The tiny room filled with the intoxicating whiff of sherry very quickly and it was easy to feel transported to Jerez as Antonio talked us through the wines in soft, lilting Spanish. In the winter he picks the best 100 casks from the 21000 on hand - then in April refines down to the top 60 for the En Rama selection. Tasted after the 'regular' bottling of Tio Pepe - this really wakes you up. Deeper in colour, still green edged but with a more deep gold tinge. The nose is intensely powerful, yeasty, nutty and brightly bitter notes - then wallop the pallet is loaded with flavour. An underlying citric fresh kick is bullied by the savoury, intense, more waxy middle, almonds and and then your mouth is washed out with a tangy salty kick. This is exciting stuff and arguably the most authentically 'En Rama' style on offer this year. Joyously 'un-mucked about with' and a really bright, fresh style. Delicious, now where is that Jamon? L&S (Apr 2017)
In the glass the 2017 release of the Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe En Rama has a cool pale-straw hue. The nose reveals scents of green apples and green olives, and perhaps not so much of the salty saline character seen in some years, although as noted above it is heavily laden with pungent flor aromas. The palate follows through on this, with a heady, pungent flor character, backed up by fresh acidity, carrying slightly briny green olives and nutty almond notes. It feels rich and flavoursome, broad and undeniably long. Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Aug 2017)
8th edition, bottled April 2017. 16,000 bottles from 60 casks selected from the Tio Pepe solera. Unfiltered, unclarified. Selected earlier in the week and not yet bottled. Intense dried grasses, almost musty on the nose but not corked at all. Intensely fresh, lively citrus and dried herbs. Great intensity allied to intense freshness. So tangy. Second tasting: dusty dried grasses and a wild yeasty note – more yeasty than bready. Bone dry, mineral, rocky, with a long tangy saline finish, like orange segments straight from the sea. Very long. Texture is firm and leesy, almost chalky, giving a backbone to all those complex but not fruity flavours and mouth-watering finish. Unique style of wine. Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2017)
In 1835, a young man called Manuel María González Angel arrived in Jerez, intent on making a name for himself in the thriving and lucrative sherry business. Encouraged by the consistent growth in exports, that same year he purchased a small winery and began to produce and export his own wines. This was the start of Bodegas Tío Pepe which, due to the firm’s increasing success, became the González Byass company soon afterwards. Today, Bodegas Tío Pepe is known around the world as one of the leading producers of sherry and Brandy de Jerez.
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